The 43-62 Cubs are turning things over to the kids.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, third base prospect Josh Vitters and outfielder prospect Brett Jackson are headed to Los Angeles, where they’ll be added to the active 25-man roster before the Cubs’ series-finale Sunday against the Dodgers.
Vitters, the third overall selection in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft, has registered a cool .304/.356/.513 batting line, 17 home runs and 68 RBI in 110 games this season for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. The 22-year-old from Anaheim, California will take over starting third base duties from Luis Valbuena.
Jackson, 24, was the 31st overall pick in ’09. He was batting .256/.338/.479 with 15 home runs, 27 stolen bases and 47 RBI in 106 games this summer at Iowa and will presumably play all over the Chicago outfield.
One team has punched its ticket to the Fall Classic. Two teams are looking to join them, with the Dodgers carrying the distinct advantage. Los Angeles needs only a split in the final two games of the NLCS while Milwaukee needing to win both games at home. Doable? Absolutely. But to do it, the Brewers are going to have to wake up their sleepy bats.
NLCS Game 6
Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley
The Dodgers will give the ball to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but allowed two runs and tossed 72 pitches, failing to get out of the fifth inning, in Game 2 against Milwaukee. Even if he again turns in a short outing Dave Roberts should feel pretty confident, however, as the Dodgers’ bullpen — considered a question mark coming into this series — has allowed only three runs in in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.
For Milwaukee it’s once again Wade Miley, who was the Game 5 “starter,” but who pitched to only one batter. I suppose it’s possible that Craig Counsell will burn him like that again, but it seems more likely that Miley will actually pitch in this game rather than be used as a decoy.
As I noted the other day, though, the Brewers’ pitching gamesmanship has not really been a factor in this series. The real problem for them has been their offense. They’ve scored only 16 runs in five games while batting .219. That’s actually identical to the Dodgers’ run total and average overall, but L.A. has been better at distributing that meager offense. Milwaukee has been cold at the worst times, too, going 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the series, including one for their last 11. If that doesn’t change, their season ends tonight.